Ecclesiastes 9:13-11:6 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Wisdom is Better Than Strength
Comments for Study 8

Ecclesiastes 9:13-11:6
Memory Verse: 11:5

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I. Wisdom Better Than Folly (9:13-18)

>1. How are this world's priority skewed according to verses 13-16?

* Ecclesiastes 9:13-16 "I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded."

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>How are Jesus' words like quiet words? (17)

* Ecclesiastes 9:17 "The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools."

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>How does verse 18 help explain the state of things in this world?

* Ecclesiastes 9:18 "Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good."

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II. Words From a Wise Man's Wealth (10:1-20)

>2. How does verse 1 explain the need for a Savior even though we try to do what is right?

* Ecclesiastes 10:1 "As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor."

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>How does verse 2 reveal the conflict inside? (Romans 7:14-25)

* Ecclesiastes 10:2 "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left."

* Romans 7:14-25 "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

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>How is the fruit of the fool's heart eventually revealed? (2; Matthew 7:15-20)

* Ecclesiastes 10:3 "Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is."

* Matthew 7:15-20 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

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>3. How can verse 4 be applied to soldiers of Christ? (Hebrews 12:7-11)

* Ecclesiastes 10:4 "If a ruler's anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest."

* Hebrews 12:7-11 "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

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>What is a sign of a bad ruler and leader? (5-6)

* Ecclesiastes 10:5-6 "There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones."

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>Why might a poor ruler do according to verse 7?

* Ecclesiastes 10:7 "I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves."

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>4. How can poor and/or sinful acts work against us? (8-9)

* Ecclesiastes 10:8-9 "Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them."

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>How does verses 10-11 show the importance of preparation before working?

* Ecclesiastes 10:10-11 "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. If a snake bites before it is charmed, there is no profit for the charmer."

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>5. How does verse 12 help us discern?

* Ecclesiastes 10:12 "Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips."

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>Why might a fool used many words? (13-14)

* Ecclesiastes 10:13-14 "At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness-- 14 and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming-- who can tell him what will happen after him?"

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>What does verse 15 mean?

* Ecclesiastes 10:15 "A fool's work wearies him; he does not know the way to town."

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>6. How does verses 16-17 explain the need to appoint proper elders and leaders? (Titus 1:5-9)

* Ecclesiastes 10:16-17 "Woe to you, O land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, O land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time-- for strength and not for drunkenness."

* Titus 1:5-9 "The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

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>7. Why must we keep up the gospel work? (18)

* Ecclesiastes 10:18 "If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks."

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>Why is money so important to everyone in this world? (19)

* Ecclesiastes 10:19 "A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything."

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>When is it important to keep your thoughts to yourself?

* Ecclesiastes 10:20 "Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say."

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III. Bread Upon Waters (11:1-6)

>8. What does verse 1 have to do with the gospel work?

* Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again."

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>How can verse 2 be applied to sharing the gospel? (Luke 16:8-9)

* Ecclesiastes 11:2 "Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land."

* Luke 16:8-9 "The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

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>9. What principles that God established are stated in verses 3 and 4?

* Ecclesiastes 11:3-4 "If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap."

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>How does verse 5 teach us about trusting God?

* Ecclesiastes 11:5 "As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."

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>How does verse 6 apply to doing gospel work by faith?

* Ecclesiastes 11:6 "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."

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